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History A Historical Oddball, or "The Tamale Wagon"

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by BigJoeArt, Mar 8, 2019.

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  1. BigJoeArt
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 46

    BigJoeArt
    Member

    This is the story of My hot rod.

    But this whole thing started before me.
    Back in the early 1970's things were weird, T buckets were hot, and the Street Rod Nationals was just getting started!
    Around this same time Bill West was working on a project, a 1/2 scale VW powered model T panel.
    he had the body, chassis, and drivetrain put together when he got a new copy of Rod&Custom, and lo and behold there was Jim Babb's It-T-Bits Subaru powered mini T.
    At this point he lost interest in the project and he eventually sold the car unfinished.
    It went through a couple people before it finally wound up (still unfinished) getting sold to Les Jarvis, who at the time was the was the "Circulation Director" at Street Rodder. Les found Bill, and had him work on finishing the car. this leads us to the first (that i know of) appearance in a Magazine.
    In the February 1975 issue of Street Rodder, in an Editorial written by Jim Clark, about Les Jarvis' very diverse Stable of hot rods.

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    But then we step back in time a little bit for the second appearance in Street Rodder.
    In the March 1975 issue Pat Ganahl writes about what it takes to build a set of fenders from scratch.


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    In the beginning of this article you can see the earliest picture of this car, Presumably as Bill sold it, with what I think are MG wire wheels?
    By the time we get to the end of the article, we see it with the American Racing 12 spoke Magnesium wheels (the same ones that are on it today) looking much more finished.

    The next Article that I have found is in the November 1975 issue of Street Rodder, which is an article on the Street Rod Nationals #5, hosted in Memphis, TN.
    This is the first Photo that shows its finished state, and as far as I know, the only time it was shown finished in Street Rodder.


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    In the same Magazine, Pat Ganahl wrote an article about building a seat. and wouldn't you know, its a seat for a certain little panel truck!

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    This brings us to the point were Les Jarvis sold the panel, and it goes off the radar for a couple years. The next time it appears is on the cover of a VW magazine, Cause in case you forgot, this thing IS VW powered.

    On the Cover and inside of the August 1977 issue of Hot VWs, it makes it first (that i know of) full feature. On a slight side note, if you are a VW guy you might find it interesting that this was Dean Kirsten's first full article with the magazine!

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    Now, I should note, that this article, is full of bad info. The frame was not built by Pete&Jakes, as I was able to get ahold of Jake and he didn't remember building it. (also it was built in 1972, 2 years before P&J's even opened) It also states that the steering box is out of a Mustang, but its out of a fiat.
    Regardless, it was it's moment of fame.

    Then It REALLY dropped off the radar. I talked to a guy that remembers it driving around his neighborhood when he was in school, but other than that, Nothing.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019
  2. badshifter
    Joined: Apr 28, 2006
    Posts: 3,130

    badshifter
    Member

    Bill hangs out at the shop that painted my pickup. I'll have to show him this.
     
  3. BigJoeArt
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 46

    BigJoeArt
    Member

    This is when my Friend, Mike comes in. Mike moved here to NW Missouri after living in CA for his whole life. He had actually he had built a VW powered Rod in his past, and generally likes weird stuff. This led his friend Rick, who was visiting from CA, to tell him about the little panel truck he had seen back home. Rick got Mike a number for the guy who owned the panel, and Mike started calling.
    Finally Mike got told, if you want it, come and get it, before I sell it to someone else. So Mike made a flash trip to CA to pick up the Panel, and he stopped on the way back at one of his favorite places to get tamales. (sounds dumb but that is how it got its name.)

    At the time I am a 14 year old , who loved VW's and Hot Rods. I grew up with a Dad who had custom trucks and old cars all the time, so I knew everyone in our local car scene. In our town we have a Burger King Car Cruise on Friday nights during the summer. we didn't always bring a car, but we usually went by to talk to our friends.
    One particular night we drove to the cruise and I spotted this... thing... on a trailer, sitting high above the other cars in the lot. I didn't know what it was at the time, but I knew it was cool! It bridged the gap for me between hot rods and VW's, and boy was I excited. I walked around it a bunch of times, and I talked to Mike, who was just returning from his trip to CA, and hadn't even taken it off the trailer yet. He let me sit in it, and I loved it. Here are the pictures from that night, including photos of me, a shaggy kid, sitting in it. Little did I know, I would one day own this.

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    Stay Tooned for the next installment, The Rebuild!
     
  4. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 10,614

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    All that hair? That surely can’t be you! ;)
    Glad to see you posting this, it’s a rad little hotrod
     
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  5. BigJoeArt
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 46

    BigJoeArt
    Member

    I know right?! I wish I had that much hair now.
     
  6. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 10,614

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

    It’s probably just moved to your back lol
     
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  7. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 26,433

    The37Kid
    Member

    Great story! You aren't the only one to sit in a 1912 Ford and wind up buying it later in life, because it made an impression on you. Looking forward to the rebuild, but the body & paint look just fine as is. Bob
     
  8. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,438

    classiccarjack
    Member

    I too, became "folliclely challenged"... When are they going to improve "just for men" to "just for bald"???

    But seriously, I look forward to the restoration.

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  9. sloppy jalopies
    Joined: Jun 29, 2015
    Posts: 3,523

    sloppy jalopies
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    yes, but forgetting to comb it is no longer a problem...
    still got most of mine, but it is white with a former redhead's pinkish high-lights
     
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  10. 56sedandelivery
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 6,034

    56sedandelivery
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Make me think Amish for some reason. Is it still titled as a VW? Just curious. I am Butch/56sedandelivery.
     
  11. BJR
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 6,117

    BJR
    Member

    There is nothing traditional about a VW powered anything!!
     
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  12. BigJoeArt
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 46

    BigJoeArt
    Member

    Don't worry to much guys, the rebuild doesn't have any repainting yet. one day it will go back to the red, but not for awhile.

    A few years pass and finally Mike gets it running and driving well enough to take to a couple shows. surprisingly, even though I loved the car, I have no pictures of it while mike was driving it, except for this background shot. (behind the manx buggy) at our local VW show.

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    He had a new motor built, put disk brakes on the back (there are no front brakes) and drove it enough to find out it handled BAD. it did not like to go straight, and the steering was really quick, Bad when the steering wheel points straight up. He also found that the front axle had 0 degrees of caster. (another not good thing) so he didn't drive it much and started on another project.

    Mike and I were driving down to KC one day when he asked me out of the blue if I wanted to own the tamale wagon. I had started to build a body for a similar project, so when he offered the real deal I said YES!

    So I went out to his shop to look it over and help him move it to his storage container, where he agreed to store it till I had room to take it home.

    the front wheels were being used to mock up his next project, so it was sitting on these rollers when we moved it.

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    I made a few trips out to Mikes place over the years to steal some parts off the motor to keep my then daily driver VW on the road. During one of those such trips i shot a picture of the really dusty interior.

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    A few years pass, I got married, am working full time, and building a house!
    As soon as I got garage doors in the house I started preparing to bring the Tamale wagon home.

    We went out on a warmish Saturday in October 2017, and retrieved it.

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    Once we got it home, I had to pose it a bit before I put it into its new home.

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    Not too long after I got it home winter hit, and I was still working on the house, so it sat.

    BONUS ROUND!

    I forgot about the for sale add in the back of the Hot VW's magazine!

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    Now that it was at my house I took a lot more pictures of it and soon, winter was over and it was time to start getting it running.

    See that next time in "which engine is that?" or "does it matter what way I turn the wheel?"
     
  13. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 9,866

    Atwater Mike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I go 'way back with VW...we had a VW customer when I was 15, so I did a valve job 'by the book', had a time finding upper engine mount bolts! It was 1957, Faultless Cleaners bought a '54 VW van, (two side doors, 'walk-thru') then a '55 bug. Bug burned a valve, 36H.P.
    I worked on a couple of Kent Fuller "V-Rods", Cal Auto T buckets on tube frames, VW engine/transaxles. Kent's was Porsche powered, did wheelies. So did my Porsche powered oval window, street driven.
    Your Tamale Wagon has that TRUCKIN' Mag Pedigree...Enviable.
     
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  14. MrMike
    Joined: May 21, 2010
    Posts: 137

    MrMike
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Cool looking little truck!
     
  15. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 10,614

    Tim
    Member
    from Raytown Mo

  16. sdluck
    Joined: Sep 19, 2006
    Posts: 2,291

    sdluck
    Member

    The Tamale wagon is a famous CRA sprintcar
     
  17. LilBlue82
    Joined: Dec 16, 2015
    Posts: 102

    LilBlue82

    Absolutly beautiful Vw wagon. You should paint it red and isnt there a model kit called the tamale wagon??

    Sent from my LG-M327 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  18. adam401
    Joined: Dec 27, 2007
    Posts: 1,900

    adam401
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I LOVE the way that little T sits. What an awesome car id love to build something with that vibe someday. Sort the handling issues and drive it!
     
  19. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 24,229

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    hope that this thread does not get shut too soon - but, even with the look of the body & the hard work to build it, it is OT for this site - many threads have been shut down for even mentioning stuff newer than '65 - hopefully it will get more coverage in magazines in the future
     
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  20. BigJoeArt
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 46

    BigJoeArt
    Member

    I have to respectfully disagree that it is off topic, as for the date, it was built at the same time as the California kid, Jake's coupe, and the leg show T. All of which I'm certian have threads here.
    As for the VW part, It was built with the ideas that were implanted in every R&C magazine during the 60's. They had a whole series on building a volksrod and then driving it cross-country! Now I'll spoil a little bit of the fun by saying I now have pie crust slicks and dragmaster 5 spokes on the rear. It takes it out of the 70's and plants it square back into the 60's.
    At its core, it's an imaginative hot rodders take on a classic panel truck, using all parts that are pre 1965.
     
  21. BigJoeArt
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 46

    BigJoeArt
    Member

    I don't understand why this was your response to my post. I would like to show you some R&C, Hot Rod, and Car Craft magazines from the 1960's that show VW powered rods, and straight up vw's! I'm pretty sure everything else in those books is considered 'traditional' so why wouldn't this be?
     
  22. BigJoeArt
    Joined: Dec 12, 2011
    Posts: 46

    BigJoeArt
    Member

    Thanks! Wait till I get to the good part! It gets driven!
     
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  23. LilBlue82
    Joined: Dec 16, 2015
    Posts: 102

    LilBlue82

    In my book ( granted im young at 23) Rodding is rodding. Sure its a Vw motor but lets be honest its a cool vw motor. In my book as long as its hot rodded, rat rodded or Modified its cool to me.

    Sent from my LG-M327 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
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  24. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,438

    classiccarjack
    Member

    The think was built, using a T... And it was done back in the day. I dig it! I say it stays...

    Being a Dodge guy is tough enough. I imagine a Euro-rodder would have it tougher...

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  25. classiccarjack
    Joined: Jun 30, 2009
    Posts: 1,438

    classiccarjack
    Member

    Thing... Not think.... Thanks spell check for the change. Sheesh!

    Sent from my Moto Z (2) using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
     
  26. Fun story, keep it coming
     
  27. nrgwizard
    Joined: Aug 18, 2006
    Posts: 1,132

    nrgwizard
    Member
    from Minn. uSA

    Nice version of a VolksRod. Yea... I love 'em. Great save. Wonder what happened to It-T-Bits? There was a period that the goal was making things as small & light as possible, as well as/unique n well proportioned hotrods. Lots done by "names", that most haven't a clue about, much less respect. Sad. Hope this threads stays.
    Marcus...
     
  28. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,897

    Ned Ludd
    Member

    VWs are perfectly traditional. They aren't encouraged on the HAMB because they're a big thing which could easily spiral out of control and crowd out the core topic, not because they weren't a definite presence in the "traditional" era. I'm hoping Ryan lets this one stand, as there is a lot of solid history there.
     
  29. GuyW
    Joined: Feb 23, 2007
    Posts: 532

    GuyW
    Member

    Kool car. (I wonder where Dean Lowe stands on old VW stuff??)
     
  30. And to think I got crucified for having a 60's front independent suspension welded into my old Ford Pickup ??????
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
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